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Screenshot of Evernote for Mac OS X.
Screenshot of Evernote for Mac OS X.
Screenshot of iWriter for iPad.
Screenshot of iWriter for iPad.
Echo Smartpen.
Echo Smartpen.

Travel Essentials: Writing devices

All kinds of software and devices have emerged to rival pen and paper, but which are the best for travel?

Cheap, robust and reliable, pen and paper are difficult to beat for note-taking on the move. Yet all kinds of software and devices have emerged to rival this age-old method. While it is doubtful they will replace pen and paper completely, they have a range of advantages in certain circumstances.



This application - available for Mac and PC - counters the fragmentation of the online world by bringing together notes and snippets of information from a range of sources into one place. It is great for planning trips and gathering information to use while travelling. You can take notes by typing or recording them in audio or video, but the power of this application emerges when you start browsing the web. Using a special toolbar in your browser, you can clip web pages, images and web addresses, which you can then organise in folders. These sync with your account, accessed from your iPhone or iPad.

Available free from www.evernote.com.


Writer for iPad

This iPad app - also for Mac - tries to bring simplicity back to the act of writing. Essentially, it turns the iPad into a big typewriter with no settings and no options to change fonts. Instead, the typography and layout have been chosen to help you to concentrate on writing. The app prides itself on this minimalist approach and the fact that it has only a handful of useful features: "focus mode" highlights the sentence you are writing, while "reading time" tells you how long it would take the average person to finish reading your text.

Available from the iTunes store for $4.99 (Dh18).


Livescribe Echo Smartpen

This device is both a pen and an audio recorder, linking up what you write with what you record. The pen has a microphone and 4GB memory, storing up to four hours of audio. While the pen is recording you can take notes in a special "dot paper" notebook. When you have finished recording, simply tap on a note to go to that particular point in the audio recording. The only downside is the expensive dot paper - $24.95 (Dh92) for two journals.

Available from www.amazon.com from $128 (Dh470) , plus shipping.

More of the most durable and practical gear to take on your next holiday at Travel Essentials.


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